Proof of Work: Back to building

Quick Take

  • Monero community releases a really nice PDF intro to the coin, Cosmos cleanly pulled off an upgrade, dYdX launched their mainnet product, MKR raised their stability fee to 14.5%, and Livepeer published a post on their probabilistic micropayments solution
  • Rakuten Wallet might be one of the biggest things at the moment in the Japan crypto scene. It’s now open for web registration
  • On-going game of musical chairs amongst Asian exchanges’ IEOs, and some drama during the recent Bibox IEO may signal the end of the IEO hype
  • Both Huobi and Okex are rushing to launch their public chains in Q2. Few details have been released from either side regarding the chains

The following newsletter is republished with permission from Eric Meltzer of Primitive Ventures, a global venture investment firm with a focus on blockchain and related technologies. You can follow Eric on Twitter at @wheatpond and subscribe here to Proof of Work

Greetings from Boston! I’ll be in NYC from the 10th to the 12th—I love meeting PoW readers, so if you’ll be around please feel free to reply to this! I’ll also be speaking very briefly at the Magical Crypto Conference on the 11th at 5:10 PM about Satoshi’s Treasure—if you’re a Hunter, it might be worth either showing up or sending a friend in your stead.

The first week of Satoshi’s Treasure has been absolutely incredible. The second set of clues were released on Sunday, and as before were solved much faster than we were expecting. Not only did hunters decipher all of the clues to get the Leporine Key, but they even identified the extremely obscure Chinese cult movie that one of the gif clues was from. It strikes me that we’ve accidentally assembled the beginnings of an army of the world’s most resourceful hackers and problem solvers…

In addition to explosive growth in the number of people playing, I’ve been especially stoked to see the number of people who are actually creating things. Fan sites with satellite transmissionsprediction market bets on which teams will perform well, a very full-featured Discord bot for team managementfan art, and more. A bunch of really solid developers are building on top of what we’ve made, and what’s cool about using cryptographic primitives for game is that they don’t have to ask us for an API key to do so—they can just do it! We’ve also pretty much taken over the Blockstream satellite and turned it into a one-way Satoshi’s Treasure chat room.

The next clue with be released this Sunday, and the previous clues have all been publicly released (findable with some Googling) so if you haven’t started playing, now is a great time.

I’m reverting to the previous format on then newsletter cuz everyone seems to like it better. Highlights this week: Monero community releases a really nice PDF intro to the coin, Cosmos cleanly pulled off an upgrade, dYdX launched their mainnet product, MKR raised their stability fee to 14.5%, and Livepeer published a post on their probabilistic micropayments solution.

China & Asia Updates

Mining ?

  • No major news in mining this week. Many miners who stocked up on mining machines earlier this year have seen a decent return as prices start to rally. S9’s average price is now close to 2000 RMB ($250-300) vs 900 RMB ($120-150) at its lowest

  • Mining machines’ price beta is always greater than 1 compared to BTC’s price, and the risk is largely taken on by the buyer, not the seller  

Trading/Exchanges ?

  • OKEx’s support for $BSV is mostly a relationship play between Jack Lu and Star Xu. Jack is the most well-known public $BSV supporter in the Chinse community and was a long-time OKEx veteran. He also overlapped with CZ (former OKEx CTO) between 2014-2015 as Head of International at OKEx

  • On-going game of musical chairs amongst Asian exchanges’ IEOs, and some drama during the recent Bibox IEO may signal the end of the IEO hype. Another fairly new exchange, created a new model for a FOMO3D hybrid IEO. The IEO hype reminds me of last year’s transaction fee mining frenzy, which was also not sustainable because the model is easily reproducible. Both are like a game of musical chairs where each exchange hopes they’ll still have a seat when the music stops

  • Both Huobi and Okex are rushing to launch their public chains in Q2. Few details have been released from either side regarding the chains

Regulation ?

  • India’s National Payments Corporation, a domestic bank consortium is said to be building a blockchain settlement rail for retail payments.

  • Rakuten Wallet might be one of the biggest things at the moment in the Japan crypto scene. It’s now open for web registration, only a month after it acquired a crypto license from the FSA. Regulatory cost in Japan is VERY high, and the FSA is extremely conservative when it comes to foreign players, hence why it is giving local fintech giants an unfair advantage over global crypto players like Binance and Coinbase.

Misc ?

  • According to a Korea local TV (Arirang) reports, over 7% over total Koreans (3.5 million) have bought cryptocurrencies with an average investment of $6000. To put this in context, the average Korean’s monthly income is about $3000, meaning those who made crypto investments are likely upper middle class. Another unconfirmed source (this statistic has been floating around since early 2018) claims that over 70% of Korean white collar workers have held cryptoassets at some point.

Bitcoin & Friends

Jimmy & Optech on Bitcoin [ed: sign up for their newsletter too! it’s great!]

James from Summa

Summa builds tools to exchange crypto in a convenient and trustless fashion.

  • This week we made significant updates to...

  • riemann-zeta -- Zeta can now sync from the mainnet genesis block, plus a bunch of bugfixes

  • riemann-tx -- Added utility functions for encoding integers in Script

  • bitcoin-spv -- Made a branch for easily adding the contracts to any truffle project

Tony from Kadena

Kadena is building Pact, a formally verifiable smart-contracting language for financial applications, and Chainweb, a PoW blockchain that uses multiple chains in parallel to increase throughput.

  • "Kadena's public braided PoW testnet passes 10,000 block milestone."

  • Now that Chainweb Testnet v0 is live, we're improving network stability, implementing strategic upgrades for on-disk persistence, and implementing fully-automatic cross chain SPV towards v1.

  • Round-trip test coverage of transaction through mempool to consensus PR 93.

  • Testnet stability improvements: stabilize peer-to-peer, improve GC pausing, better cross-chain "cut" consensus workflow PRs 90and 85.

  • "Local" transaction execution implemented PR 82.

  • Full Formal Verification coverage of Pact's unique capability system and multi-step "pact" solution, along with new support for integrated trustless SPV proofs for cross-chain interactions.

  • Full coverage of multi-step pacts in formal verification and typechecker PRs 449448, and 422.

  • Added basic SPV support "verify-spv" PR 436.

  • Full Formal Verification coverage of Pact guards and capabilities PR 427

  • Join a live Discord AMA on May 7 at 3 pm ET with Kadena co-founder Stuart Popejoy and Certik co-founder Columbia University Professor Ronghui Gu. The topic is Formal Verification, covering its broad uses and applicability to blockchains. Register in advance at

Aviv from Spacemesh

Spacemesh is a programmable cryptocurrency powered by a novel proof-of-space-time consensus protocol.

JZ from Decred

Decred is an autonomous digital currency with a hybrid consensus system. It is built to be a self-ruling currency where everyone can vote on the rules and project-level decision making proportionately to their stake.

Johnny from Stellar

Stellar is an open network for sending and exchanging value of any kind. Its global network enables digitization of assets - from carbon credits to currencies - and enables movement around the internet with ease.

  • Stellar Core releases Protocol 11 on Thursday (3/25/2019) via Stellar Core v11.0.0. You can download the release candidate here.

  • Horizon patch release due out on Tuesday (3/23/2019), which includes compatibility fixes for Stellar Core v11.0.0, check the releases page!

  • Newly redesigned Go SDK release is expected out this week, check the releases page!

  • We're working on releasing a new code of conduct organization wide, ideally by next week.

  • New Horizon ingestion service design has been released — open to feedback and comments.

  • We're planning on releasing our new working groups for upcoming protocol work this week, primarily working on fee replacement and deposit/sending of assets workflow.

Izaak from Coda

Coda is the first cryptocurrency protocol with a constant-sized blockchain. Coda compresses the entire blockchain into a tiny snapshot the size of a few tweets using recursive zk-SNARKs.

  • After an amazing effort from John and Paul across many PRs, backwards compatibility is implemented, allowing different versions of the protocol to communicate.   

  • The snarky website is up thanks to Matt.

  • Rahul fixed OpenMP support on Mac.

  • Jiawei fixed several issues related to the caching of blocks.

  • Brandon has written the initial UI code for our desktop wallet (PR, with screenshots.) Usability testers wanted, please get in touchif you're interested.

Privacy coins

Paige & Zooko from Zcash

Zcash is a digital currency utilizing zk-SNARKs to enable its privacy-protecting properties.

Mitchell from Monero

Monero is a open-source, privacy-focused cryptocurrency using the ASIC-resistant CryptoNote PoW algorithm. It enforces all privacy features at the protocol level to ensure that all transactions create a single fungible anonymity pool.

  • Thursday was Monero’s 5th anniversary, celebrated by a global community live stream with stories, puzzles, updates, cake, and more.

  • We released the electronic version of Mastering Monero, a comprehensive guide that progresses from a beginner’s introduction, through the privacy technologies, into details for developers and integration. The community funded the project, so anybody can download the PDF for free.

Daniel from Grin

Grin is a community-driven implementation of the Mimblewimble protocol that aims to be privacy preserving, scalable, fair, and minimal.

Beni from Beam

Beam is a confidential and scalable cryptocurrency based on Mimblewimble.

  • Release of Beam Wallet on iOS | Release Notes

  • CLI | Add ability to delete transaction  #604

  • API | Add ability to delete transaction  #603

  • UI Wallet | Password request for Send Transaction  #146

  • Lock screen #161

  • New feature on Android | Show available balance, in Send screen  #187

  • Feature, iOS | Finger print  #74

  • Feature, iOS | Show available balance in Send screen #95

  • Feature, iOS | Export transactions history  #94

  • Feature, iOS | Auto-complete of seed phrase  #97

Arnaud from AZTEC Protocol

AZTEC Protocol is an efficient zero-knowledge protocol built on top of Ethereum, making plug-and-play value transmission and asset governance privacy tools for developers and companies. 

Smart contracting platforms

Evan from Ethereum

Ethereum is a decentralized platform for applications that aims to resist fraud, censorship or third-party interference.

Erik from NEAR

NEAR is a sharded proof-of-stake blockchain.

Topper from Quorum Control

Tupelo is a permissionless proof of stake DLT platform purpose-built to model individual objects that enables flexible public or private data models.

  • Final testing being completed on v0.2.0 includes:

  • Substantial performance improvements through consensus streamlining including optimizing subscriptions and improved bootstrapping (sub-second finality achieved!)

  • Send and Receive Token successfully implemented

  • Requested play transaction functionality

  • Publishing of the latest performance improvements tested at 21 and 100 signing nodes

  • Upgraded version of Kyber and several other key libraries

  • Improvements to the CircleCI build pipeline

Michael from Loom

Loom Network is a platform for building highly scalable DPoS sidechains to Ethereum, with a focus on large-scale games and social apps.

  • Released 2019 Roadmap Update, including a recap of Q1 milestones and top priorities and objectives for the remainder of 2019

  • Went live with 2 more external validators PlasmaChain -- Wetez and SNZ

  • 152M LOOM tokens are now staked on PlasmaChain, which amounts to ~20% of circulating supply

Myles from EOS

EOS is a new blockchain architecture designed to enable vertical and horizontal scaling of decentralized applications.

  •'s EOSIO Labs open-sourced some ideas about a post-password environment for interacting with services using blockchain

  • EOS New York released a proposal for decentralizing token contracts on EOS

  • Kyber Network introduced Yolo, its token swap system for EOS

  • The EOS Resource Exchange (REX) got one step closer to deployment 

Zaki from Cosmos

The Cosmos Network is a decentralized network of independent, scalable, and interoperable blockchains.

  • At Block 500,000 of cosmoshub-1, the network will be upgrade to cosmoshub-2 on April 22nd, 17:00 GMT. The governance proposal exceeded the expedited threshold of 80 million ATOMs. Transfers will be enabled in this upgrade as will be the features 0.34 release. More details on on the process here.

  • The Tendermint Key Management System got support for supporting multiple chains on a single KMS instance. This helps validators more easily support multiple Tendermint chains on their infrastructure.

  • Tendermint Youtube sessions spotlighting ongoing research on automated Formal Verification of BFT protocols. 1 2

  • Terra a stable coin Cosmos Zone is launching their mainnet as well.

Kate and Dean from Agoric

Founded by pioneers in secure development and distributed systems, Agoric uses a secure subset of JavaScript to enable object capabilities and smart contracts.

  • At our SES meeting this week (recording here), we reviewed the proposed minimal translation from modules to evaluable scripts (a step towards being able to use SES with JavaScript packages), and got agreement from key stakeholders, including John-David Dalton, creator of the lodash and esm packages, who has joined the Salesforce team working with SES.

  • We released @agoric/make-hardener-0.0.6 to NPM, a library to make defensible API surfaces by transitively freezing JavaScript objects in-place.

  • We’ve continued work on the "SwingSet" environment, which contains a JS "exo-kernel" and messaging/execution framework inspired by the KeyKOS operating system, extended with asynchronous messaging.

Financial Infrastructure

Antonio from dYdX

dYdX is a decentralized exchange for margin trading, borrowing, lending, and eventually derivatives. dYdX allows traders to trustlessly short and get leverage on crypto assets.

  • Our new product Alpha launched on mainnet! With the new dYdX you can margin trade, borrow, and lend all in one platform, all directly from your Ethereum wallet. Read all about it here

  • Fixing bugs & implementing final features before our public release

  • Hired a frontend engineer, Everett Hu. Welcome Everett!

  • Hiring product designers & engineers full-time in SF!

Brendan from Dharma

Dharma is the easiest place to borrow and lend cryptocurrencies. It enables non-custodial peer-to-peer lending through smart contracts on Ethereum.

  • Last week we gave people the ability to #ReFi with #DeFi, leading to over 3.6m in borrow volume (nearly all Dai-denominated)

  • We launched several new features, including mobile support with QR codes and dynamic collateralization

  • We're hiring full stack developers in SF. No crypto experience necessary. If interested, shoot us an email ([email protected] or or apply here

Coulter from MakerDAO

Maker is comprised of a decentralized stablecoin, collateral loans, and community governance.

  • An Executive Vote to raise the Stability Fee to 14.5% is live. You can read more about it here and encourage anyone to join our Governance Call discussions, or share thoughts on our subreddit

  • We've been busy at ETH Cape Town. Get a full rundown of all of our panels, presentations, and hackathons here.

  • According to TokenAnalyst, this week they shared that Dai is the most transacted stablecoin! 

Lazar from MARKET Protocol

MARKET Protocol is a framework for creating tokens that track prices of traditional or digital assets.

  • Signed contract with security audit firm

  • Added variable fee structure and integrated into MPX API

  • Completed evaluation of ethers.js

  • Completed UI design for minting platform fees

  • Added an option for user to select gas setting

  • Partially filled orders now to show remaining quantity

Robert from Compound

Compound is a money market protocol on the Ethereum blockchain — allowing individuals, institutions, and applications to frictionlessly earn interest on or borrow cryptographic assets without having to negotiate with a counterparty or peer.

  • Compound v2 is now running on all three Ethereum testnets

Layer two and interoperability

Rahul from 0x

0x is an open protocol that enables the peer-to-peer exchange of assets on the Ethereum blockchain.

  • Welcome to new research engineer Paul Vienhage, a former blockchain security engineer at Authio

  • New Relayer Report, with interviews featuring Hummingbot and BlitzPredict

  • Released an architecture doc for 0x Mesh, our P2P orderbook

Dong Mo from Celer

Celer Network is a layer-2 scaling platform that enables fast, easy and secure off-chain transactions for not only payment transactions, but also generalized off-chain smart contracts.

  • We released new CelerX game to Alpha testers. 

  • We refined wallet for Mainnet launch. 

  • We are preparing Mobile Sandbox for testing the Gomoku game. 

  • We made improvements on CelerX and tested CelerX for private Alpha release. 

  • We enhanced operational setup (on-chain interactions, system monitoring) and developed new features for mid-May release

Alexandra from Parity Technologies

Parity Technologies builds core blockchain infrastructure, from Parity Ethereum, an Ethereum client, to Polkadot, an interoperable blockchain network.

Application infrastructure

Doug from Livepeer

Livepeer is a decentralized video infrastructure network, dramatically reducing prices for developers and businesses building video streaming applications at scale.